Roanoke College

Ongoing URAP Projects for 2014-2015


Title:  Citizen Philanthropy
URAP Scholar:  Victoria Deguerre-Bradford
Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Andreea O'Keef


Since Spring 2014, Vicki Daguerre-Bradford and Prof. Mihalache-O'Keef have been working on a project that explores citizen philanthropy.  Motivated by their interest in civil society participation and human security in developing countries, they are comparing the developmental impact of small projects initiated by private persons (a.k.a., citizen philanthropists) with those of larger projects implemented through well established and well funded international NGOs.  In the course of the project, Vicki and Prof. Mihalache-O'Keef are conducting interviews with citizen philanthropists and they also plan site visits and field observation in Cambodia and Mexico.  Beyond its scholarly merit, this project is special to Vicki because her grandfather is one of the citizen philanthropists participating in the research.

Title:  Diels-Alder Reaction and Polymers
URAP Scholar:  Dana Layo
Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Gary Hollis


Polymers are giant molecules made up many, many repeating chemical units, and these compounds are used to make most of the materials you use on a daily basis.  The properties of polymers depend on their repeat units and the bonds which hold these repeat units together.  This project will explore an area called self-healing polymers.  As these polymers degrade, applying heat can result in a mended polymer matrix.  We will be looking at using a cycloaddition reaction, called the Diels-Alder reaction, to do the chemical mending.  Students will learn fundamental skills in synthesis, purification, and characterization of organic molecules. 

Title:  Bioelectrochemical Sensor Development
URAP Scholar:  David Miller
Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Richard Keithley


Carbon-fiber ultramicroelectrodes are chemical sensors approximately ten times smaller than a human hair.  These devices are used by scientists to monitor chemical signaling from single cells or even neurotransmission within an intact brain.  In this project, David is working on a novel fabrication scheme to create ultramicroelectrodes that are more robust, allowing all researchers in the field to improve the quality of their biochemical measurements.